By: Fadi Zanayed
The audacity of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emerged once more. This time he is seeking from the Palestinians recognition that Israel is a Jewish State in exchange for a two month settlement freeze. This is yet another way to make the Palestinians capitulate without any consideration from the Israelis.
It seems that the Israelis keep thinking of new demands of the Palestinians.
Israel at first wanted to be recognized as a state. So in 1988 the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized the State of Israel, acknowledged United Nations Resolution 242 and renounced terrorism. This led to the Madrid Conference which led to the Oslo Accords.
Twenty-two years after the capitulation to Israel’s demand to be recognized as a State, Palestinian Statehood has thus far been eluded while the brutal Israeli occupation continues unabated.
The next thing Israel demanded of the Palestinians was to remove from the PLO Charter the destruction of Israel. After a series of letters between PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Palestine National Council, in 1996, voted to remove the language calling for the destruction of Israel from its Charter.
Fourteen years after the capitulation to Israel’s demand to amend the PLO Charter, Palestinian Statehood has thus far been eluded while Israel continues to defy international law, President Obama and world public opinion by continuing to build illegal settlements.
It is not unusual for Israel to make extra-ordinary demands at critical stages during peace talks. During last minute negotiations of the Wye Memorandum in 1988, then Prime Minister Netanyahu tried to condition an agreement on the release of Jonathan Pollard, the infamous spy for Israel. President Bill Clinton did not go along with the release. Now Netanyahu is again calling for the release of this notorious spy by trying to work the release into a deal on the settlement freeze.
During Netanyahu’s first term as Prime Minister, he also demanded that the formula for peace, i.e. “land for peace,” needed to be changed to “land for security.” And so the rhetoric was changed to place conditions upon the Palestinians to control its “extremists” while the Israeli “extremists” were voted into power, i.e. the Shas Party is a member of the current Netanyahu coalition. The spiritual leader of the Shas Party has called for the annihilation of the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s new demand for the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State was quickly rejected by the Palestinian leadership. The Palestinians reasoned that such recognition is a preface for negating the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and would also undermine the Palestinian population within Israel.
Should the Palestinians again capitulate to Israel’s demand, there are two questions which require answering: How many more years will Palestinians be without a State? And, what will be Israel’s new demand be? Will Israel next want Palestinians to recognize that Israeli blood is holier to Palestinian blood?
The reason that Israel keeps demanding more and more is that Palestinians continue to capitulate to the Israeli demands without extracting any demands in return. Instead, Palestinians agree to piece meal extractions from Israel in the form of limited authority in limited zones. Watch in the coming months as Israel gives the Palestinian Authority more “powers” so as to deflect negative press and to continue the wedge it created between Fatah and Hamas—(See my previous article at http://www.arabisto.com/article/Blogs/Fadi_Zanayed/ISRAELS_VEILED_HINTS_AND_CONNIVING_MESSAGE/82348
While Israel was making these demands upon the Palestinians, Israel continued to build more and more settlements, creating “facts on the ground.” The Palestinians never thought to demand that Israel stop building settlements in the West Bank and in and around East Jerusalem until now—after over 500,000 right wing Israelis have illegally migrated onto Palestinian territory.
When will these demands of Israel stop? They will stop when Palestinians finally treats Israel like the Goliath it really is and start acting like David. Palestinians need the courage to say to Israel enough is enough. The settlement freeze has to be reinstated without any conditions or demands.
Whether or not the Palestinian leadership capitulates this time, the next “itsy-bitsy” extraction that Israel will give to the Palestinians, should the peace talks collapse, will be to give the Palestinian Authority a little bit more control over the limited territories it administers. This will accomplish two goals for Israel.
First, Israel will derail some of the criticism it has been receiving after the war in Gaza, the Goldstone Report and the debacle with the aid flotilla. Israel has been receiving criticism over its siege of Gaza. The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement is gaining steam and to try to slow it down Israel needs to show some relaxation of the ugly effects of the occupation.Second, Israel will continue to drive a wedge between Fatah and Hamas and between West Bank and Gaza Palestinians. The goal of Israel is to have two separate Palestinian entities one friendly in the West Bank to appease the Western powers and one not so friendly in Gaza.
( © Copyright, Fadi Zanayed. Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)